Blacktown Council has defended its action in destroying 15 healthy trees for the construction of a cycleway in Doonside.
A spokeswoman said its Review of Environmental Factors had identified the number of mature native trees that needed to be removed for the construction behind Shelley Crescent.
She was responding to a story in the Blacktown Sun in which residents lashed out at the council for cutting down healthy trees.
‘‘Trees which were directly affected by the location of the path or impacted by the retaining walls were removed,’’ she said.
‘‘These trees were regarded as alluvial woodland and not part of the Cumberland Plain Woodland community.’’
The spokesman said the alignment was designed and assessed by consultants as the most appropriate to various constraints including flood extents, topography and vegetation.
She said the trees located directly adjacent to any filled retaining wall areas and impacted by up to 0.5 metres of fill against the trunk or in close to the trunk of the trees were also removed.
‘‘The fill material can change the oxygen and water ratio to the soil and and suffocate the tree,’’ she said.
‘‘Hence the trees impacted by this type of construction are removed at the time of construction.’’
She said the council would replace all the trees destroyed with locally endemic species that would “enhance habitat and connectivity values’’.